Are you worried about (or maybe annoyed with) the little birds that keep striking your windows? Up to 1 billion birds die each year from colliding with windows. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to minimize bird strikes. Read on—we’ll give you tips on how to keep birds from flying into your windows.
Why do birds fly into windows?
Do you wonder why a bird would strike the same window not once or twice but many times over? Can they not see the glass and avoid it next time?
Well, you will be surprised to learn that they actually don’t see windows as well as humans do and they cannot tell that the glass is impassable. Unfortunately, many die or sustain serious injuries as a result of such collisions.
In addition to hurting themselves, when birds get used to coming to your window, they can also damage nearby appliances such as a window air conditioner if you leave the windows open.
Here are a couple of interesting reasons why birds keep flying into windows.
- They think glass is passable: Believe it or not, birds actually think they can fly right through glass. This is especially true if there is a mirror or a window directly opposite the window in front of the bird. This gives them the illusion of a thruway only to be stunned when they collide with the glass.
- They are territorial: Thought birds were laid-back free spirits? Well, think again. Even the littlest of these feathered creatures can be very aggressive and territorial. This behavior is most prominent in spring during the breeding season and in the fall at the peak of the migration season.
- a bird (mostly males) flies next to a window and sees its reflection, it confuses this with that of a rival bird and heads straight for its ‘competitor’ only to strike the window.
- They see a reflection of their surrounding: Glass can reflect the sky and surrounding trees. Unfortunately, birds interpret these reflections as the real thing and fly towards it only to crash into the window.
- They have evolved differently: Birds have evolved over thousands of years and they did not have to deal with glassy skyscrapers and double-glazed windows until recently. Let’s just say birds aren’t that street smart—they aren’t well equipped to deal with all the crazy urban architecture!
- Artificial lights distract them: Nocturnal birds depend on moon and starlight to illuminate their path. However, they will blindly follow any source of light that appears on their flight path, including light bulbs inside a building. Switching off unused lights at night can help reduce bird window strikes.
We cannot entirely stop birds from crashing into windows. However, there is a lot you can do to minimize these instances.
how to prevent birds from hitting windows?
You do not need any expensive installations to make your home or building bird-safe. Just a few small adjustments and you will reduce bird window strikes. Here’s what you can do:
1. Apply decals
Stickers are a low-cost way to keep birds from seeing their reflection, which deters them from smashing into windows. Apply any kind of decorative stickers (they do not have to be bird silhouettes) on the outside of the window.
Ensure the decals are close to each other—a few of them on a large window will not help much. Check your local pet store for bird-proof window decals.
2. Create a grid-pattern
A grid pattern makes the glass less reflective. Use white or black tape to create the pattern. Alternatively, you could use colorful highlighters to draw the grid.
Keep the distance between the horizontal lines no more than 5 cm apart and the vertical ones less than 10 cm apart. Highlighter ink will fade away after a few days, so you will need to reapply it to deter the birds.
3. Install screens or nets
If you do not want to mess around with decals, tapes, or highlighters, consider installing bird nets or screens over your windows.
Nets are typically made from polypropylene and you can buy them at your local pet store. Use clips or hooks to hang the net at least two inches from the window to keep birds away.
Alternatively, opt for fiberglass screens, which provide a firm but soft landing ground for the feathered creatures. Screens might be slightly costlier but they are more pleasing to the eye than nets.
4. Hang vertical paracord
Using vertical paracords is another simple yet effective way to scare away the birds. You could buy made-to-order bird-proof paracords from the likes of BirdSavers or you could make one yourself.
If you go the DIY route, you will need a roll of paracord, which you can buy from your local hardware store or online, and Velcro adhesive straps.
- Measure the size of your window along the length and width
- Cut enough paracord strings to cover the entire width of your window. They should also be enough to cover the window vertically.
- Use Velcro straps to hang the paracord strings vertically on your windows
5. Apply transparent window film
Try applying a one-way window film to keep your windows bird-safe without obstructing your view. The film appears opaque on the outside so birds will not see their own reflection and would, therefore, avoid striking the glass. For an attractive look, opt for colored or patterned film and simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install.
Most of these methods should be able to keep the birds away immediately. Some common ‘tricks’ that might not be as effective are:
- Dark-colored decals: Windows already look dark from the outside. Therefore, birds are less likely to see darker prints. Use brightly colored, reflective decals instead.
- Hawk-shaped stickers: Stickers that come in the shape of birds of prey will not scare away smaller birds. Feel free to use any shape of stickers to minimize bird strikes.
- Shiny objects: Hanging plastic CDs, balloons, and metallic wind chimes might not be enough to keep birds away. Unless you cover your entire window with them, these items will not break a bird’s reflection on the window.
- Window air conditioner: Think you can scare birds air by blasting air directly into their face? These appliances actually draw birds to your windows where they can comfortably create nests and even lay eggs.
While not entirely preventable, it is possible to keep birds from flying into windows most of the time. Unless you were already planning to install new windows, there are inexpensive ways to make your existing ones bird-safe.
Have you used other methods to prevent bird window strikes? Let us know in the comments below and don’t hesitate to ask questions too!